Sea to Sea – The Bike Ride.

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Whitehaven Start Point
Whitehaven Start Point

Some of you will know that I regularly commute to work by bike – I do about 20-25 miles a day on my bike so when a couple of colleagues asked me to think about doing the C2C route with them I jumped at the chance.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the C2C – it is a cycle route that takes you from the West Coast of England to the East Coast. In our case we went from Whitehaven to Sunderland (about 145 miles).

The whole route is very well sign posted, but it’s always worthwhile taking a map just incase you miss a couple of signs! 

 

On our first day we planned to cycle Whitehaven to Penrith. The first thing to do is dip your wheels in the water (obligatory if you want to really say you did the c2c) – the ride out of Whitehaven was a pleasurably sedate, a gradual climb   

It was a beautiful ride across the Lake District with the most challenging section near the Whinlatter Pass, then stopping off at the cafe

Once through there the track opens up into wonderful twisty lanes that are very quiet and generally free of traffic. 

A short stop to admire the surroundings.
A short stop to admire the surroundings.

Day 1 route details: http://cyclemeter.com/d91507a84c8c1897/Cycle-20130719-1050

Day 2 turns out to be the most challenging (and rewarding) of the three days. Starting out from Penrith there is a fairly steep climb out of the town – but as we would learn this is really just to set you up for the rest of the day. A series of climbs and downhills including the Hartside Summit, rising up over 1900ft.

Nice to see a warning sign at the start of the climb!
Nice to see a warning sign at the start of the climb!

This climb is challenging, but do-able. It has a couple of particularly steep sections but generally it’s just a matter of keeping your head down and the pedals turning.

It can be a bit decieving at times, you think you are just getting to the top and then when you get there it’s just the crest of a hill with a turn that continues to climb. 

But keep persevering and when you get to the top you can reward yourself with a fantastic cup of tea and a slice on energy packed rice crispy mars bar cake at the Hartside Cafe

Oh and when you get to the top don’t forget to look back down the route at the wonderful view – after all you have earned it. 

Hartside Pass
Hartside Pass

You would like to think it was downhill all the way to Stanhope, but unfortunately not –  still a couple of significant climbs to do and crossing a couple of county borders along the way.

There is a long downhill into Stanhope and this is a great way to end the day.

Day Two Route: http://cyclemeter.com/d91507a84c8c1897/Cycle-20130720-0859 

And so on to the final day – and what a start to the day. A big climb out of Stanhope (possibly one of the toughest) up Crawleyside takes you from about 700 to 1400ft in less than a couple of miles. 

After that it’s pretty much downhill all the way to Sunderland – it really is a great way to end the C2C, some fantastic cycle routes, especially the Waverley Way which is a great stretch of the ride.

The last stretch into Sunderland can seem long (it winds it’s way along the estuary) but it’s pleasant enough, just keep an eye out for the c2c signs.

On the seafront at Sunderland is a black monolith which signals the end of the c2c, but don’t forget to do the obligatory dip of your wheels in the sea like you did at the start.

Black Monolith - Sunderland.
Black Monolith – Sunderland.
Dipping the Wheels
Dipping the Wheels

Day 3 Route Details: http://cyclemeter.com/d91507a84c8c1897/Cycle-20130721-0857 

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